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Spirit® is published three times per year by the Texas A&M Foundation, which manages major gifts and endowments for the benefit of academic programs, scholarships and student activities at Texas A&M University.

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Editor's Desk

Learning Made Unforgettable

To this day, I can still sing prepositions to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” And I still rehearse it occasionally (in my head) when I’m editing Spirit. It was a trick I learned in seventh grade English, along with melodies that correspond to coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. 

Sometimes when I’m editing articles, I also remind myself of a popular phrase from my high school journalism teacher: “Quote, name, said.” It was something she repeated to remind us that when quoting someone in stories, you generally—with some exceptions—write the quote, attribute it, and then write, “said.” 

What you end up remembering from your education says a lot, in my opinion, about who taught it to you. It’s logical, after all, that you learn the most from the best teachers. I also recognize, however, that I likely remember the tidbits above because they turned out to be practical and relevant to my work. That begs the question, then: What about the things you remember without rhyme or reason?

For example, every Guy Fawkes Day, I recall these lines from an English poem about the rebellious conspiracy to bomb Parliament and assassinate King James I of England: “Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot.” 

Dr. Jeff Savell '75 transformed his love for animal science into two barbecue camps offered at Texas A&M.

It’s not a practical thing to know, but I remember it because my high school English history teacher let our class burn a Guy Fawkes mask one November 5. He made learning about the intended attack an experience for the class. 

It’s certainly not a new technique, but it is a practice embodied by all of the faculty members in this issue. To name just a few, Dr. Christine Tisone has her students work with dementia patients through spice painting therapy; Dr. Tim Davis teaches his students about the beauty of math through algorithms that convert songs into artwork; and Drs. Savell ’75 and Giardino translated their love for barbecue and geology, respectively, into summer learning camps.

These are wonderful examples of faculty who epitomize the idea of experiential and transformational learning. By using teaching models that require hands-on instruction, these educators take learning one step further to ensure that students are treated to rewarding and unforgettable educational experiences. Years down the road, they can look back—as I hope my former teachers do—and feel proud in knowing that their students remembered what they taught.

Contact:

Dunae Reader '15

Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications/Spirit Editor/Maroon Co-Editor